He Descended into Hell- Part Two
For me, this subject is a matter of authority. The Messiah volunteered to leave His throne in heaven and become like us so that we could become like Him (Ps. 8) with the same spiritual position. Consider these passages:
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her Offspring; He will bruise and tread your head underfoot, and you will lie in wait and bruise His heel. (Genesis 3:15 AMP)
This is the first mention of the coming Deliverer. The word ‘Offspring’ is referring to Christ therefore God tells the serpent (Satan) that His mission is to restore our authority. Let’s verify that truth from the Word of God.
Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth…You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness. (Psalm 74:12-14 ESV)
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. (1 Corinthians 15:25 ESV)
And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, (Ephesians 1:22 ESV)
“… putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. (Hebrews 2:8a ESV)
We established last week that Messiah descended into the lower parts of the earth, however, He did not stay there; resurrection was always in view. He was the first, the forerunner, to descend into hell and ascend into heaven.
Several words are translated ‘hell’ in the Bible. It can be confusing but stay with me.
Sheol is the Hebrew word (Old Testament) referring to the place where souls gathered (Is. 14:9a) before Christ; it’s the temporary place of the grave. Physical bodies die but souls had a choice of two places to remain, in this intermediate state, until Christ ransomed them. Sheol is often translated hell but specifically, it’s a place with several regions. Again, before Christ descended into the underworld to demonstrate His authority over sin, death, and the grave, people were there: waiting. There were only two choices within this realm: bliss or torment. We know the souls of believers who were waiting for Messiah were alive in one area, Abraham’s bosom (also called Paradise). Jesus said, “… I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ So he is the God of the living, not the dead.” (Matthew 22:32 NLT)
Sheol is translated Hades in the New Testament. Read the parable Jesus told about the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) and you’ll see that Sheol or Hades was a distinct place with souls of people who had made their choices: life or death, blessings or curses. Christ descended into this region, with heaven and earth watching (Dt. 30:19), to set His captives, believers, free to eventually rule and reign with Him. Authority restored.